I awake with a start, the curtains sharply drawn open to bathe me in the harsh early sunlight. The sky, cloudless and blue, the type of sky that leaves the grass thick with frost, ready to break under foot. There are small creases in the bed sheet where someone has slept beside me, the duvet lays crumpled at the corner, letting a chill in that I am quick to put an end to. I wrap the blanket tighter around my body. My eyes begin to readjust to the brightness and I take another look at the cold, winter dawn through the window pane. A silhouette in the light, Rachael busies herself tying the curtains back, bends down to pick up a cast off item of clothing. She’s wearing a mismatch of a pink vest top, perhaps a bit outgrown now, and loose-fitted, pyjama bottoms. The alarm clock atop the bedside table blinks 07:48, 07:48, 07:48.
“Been up long?”
She takes a while to answer, busying herself with menial housework and all the time not looking my way. She finally grunts, hard to tell if it’s a yes or no, and walks out the room. I guess morning sex is off the agenda. I rub at my eyes, stretch, and then retrieve my pair of boxer shorts from the floor beside the bed. Sliding them on, I get up and head to my first port of call, the bathroom. Piss, flush, wash my hands.
I gaze at my reflection in the mirror, brush a loose eyelash from my cheek. My lips are cracked in places, the usual sure sign I have a hangover. I run the tap, make a cup from my hands, and drink a few mouthfuls of water to get rid of the taste of stale beer and vodka. I run a hand through my hair in a vain attempt to make it look less dishevelled.
She’s leaning on the kitchen counter when I walk in, a fresh cup of coffee clutched between her hands, scanning the front page of some gossip magazine. A bikini clad figure adorns one of the pages; she’s standing on a picturesque beach, white sand beneath her feet along with the headline ‘Svelte in summer!’. Steam rises from the cup, curling around Rachael’s face. She blows at the liquid, takes another sip and places it down beside her. Craning my neck to further examine the article, I place an arm around her waist and lean into her hair, still thick with hairspray from the night before. The smell of perfume clings to her skin.
“You should get dressed,” she says, taking my arm away and carefully placing it back by my side. “I have things to do this morning.”
“Oh.” She turns a page, eyes still focused on the magazine. “Things?”
She eventually turns her attention away from the magazine, slides herself away from between the counter and my body, and turns to face me. “Look,” she says. Another pause. “Michael’s stopping by later.”
“Oh,” I repeat, my mind draws a blank and my eyes flicker away from her, turning their gaze elsewhere, onto inanimate objects, the toaster, the steaming cup of coffee. f*ck. “I thought the two of you were over, y’know – ”
“We’ve been talking and we’re going to give it another go. It’d be best if you left.”
I run a hand through my hair. “Sure.” I turn back to the bedroom and get my things.
The bedroom floor is cluttered; several items of clothing lay in heaps. My right shoe, Rachael’s bra, a torn condom packet, hazy memories of last night play back in my mind. I hunt around for the other shoe, annoyed to find it not neatly kicked off next to the right one. A pair of Stan Smith trainers lies under the bed. Not mine. f*cking Michael. Finally, with left shoe located, I pull on my jeans and button up my shirt.
My leather jacket hangs on a hook in the hall, by the door. I scoop it up, check the pockets for my wallet and put it on. Rachael appears in the doorway of the kitchen, watching me as I stoop to tie a lace. She reaches forwards, unlocks the door, and retreats back to the doorway.
“So, uh, I hope you and Michael work things out.” What am I saying?
The corners of her lips curl up into an empty smile, her blues eyes remain cold, devoid of emotion.
I walk out the door and down the path. I stop to turn back, as if to say something meaningful, what exactly, I don’t know, but the door has already closed shut behind me and I’m faced with nothing, except for an ornate number ‘9’. I turn back to the path, it’s a thirty minute walk back to my apartment or I could just hop on a bus. My head pounds, something I have somehow only just realised. I gaze up to the sky beginning to grey over and straighten my collar.
Thanks for reading. Brutal feedback welcome, I'm sure someone will spot a whole array of mistakes.
This is the first bit of writing I've done in what seems like years. It's part of a fairly short story I have half-planned, takes place about half way through. I figured/hoped maybe having something to work towards would set me in good stead to begin proper.
Edited by mark-2007, 01 August 2011 - 04:18 PM.